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How I lost My Friend
|by Jayaprakash Raghavan Pillai|
In the darkness, as I groped my way onward, I felt my boots sinking in the muddy path. A heavy downpour, a moment before had made the path so clayey that walking along the forest area was a tedious task for a person hardly accustomed to the jungle area. The rain had poured on endlessly for some time but now when it had subsided into a mere drizzling, I plodded on along the path to my home at the edge of the forest.
By my side trod the only companion that I knew. When he was with me, I felt no fear of any lurking danger that may perchance step forward. Both of us felt a close relationship not shared before by any one that I knew among my friends even. At times his mere size and ferocious look kept strangers away at a distance. He never seemed to disengage himself from me even for a second. He had accompanied me to the bar where I had overstayed till late at night owing to the heavy rain. When the rain was over, he had nudged me as if to signal that it was already late. I seemed to realize that he cared for me as he was so concerned for my safety.
His anxiety for me was not without a cause for the area around was not safe to wander aimlessly at night. Dangerous carnivores were always on the prowl seeking prey that may cross their path. When I stepped out to the road, the darkness outside almost blinded me. Having forgotten to carry a torch that seemed a handy weapon, I felt inclined to rely on the assistance of my friend to lead me on. He led the way, and I followed closely behind. For some there was no sort of communication even by gesture as he was hardly noticeable in the hideous darkness that enveloped us as we moved on. I could only follow at his heels by quickening my pace that I found it extremely difficult to keep up with him. We were following a road that led to a thick jungle.
As we neared the open ground where the gruesome jungle started, I could see my house from a distance in the darkness. I then felt a premonition of some danger that I could not understand. Almost immediately there was a deep growling sound from my friend but I could see nothing that had caused my friend to react in this way. I had no torch that I could use to find out the cause of the disturbance arising in my friend.
He was immensely a huge bull of a dog that was extremely fond of me as a master and would go to any length to protect me. I had got him as a puppy from the Administrator who had gifted him to me three years ago. Now we had become so fond of each other that I felt we could never be separated even for a moment. The incessant growling in spite of my gentle protest brought a sense of alarm rising within me. Looking over my shoulder, four pairs of eyes glittering in the pitch darkness caught my attention.
Frantically I searched in my pocket for a cigarette lighter that I always carried with me. I somehow got the lighter in my right hand and lighted it. Imagine the shock that I felt when I saw a pack of four bloodthirsty, deadly hyenas quite near to us, watching and waiting. I then realized the pitiable and helpless situation that we were facing for if they charged, we would have no chance. I saw immediately that the lighter in my hand had made them retreat some steps backwards. I knew that these animals are the real scavengers of Africa and they could easily tear to pieces the remains of the flesh of animals killed by lions. Besides their powerful teeth could crush through the bones left over by the larger carnivores and make short work of any prey they chanced to catch.
Bruno as my dog was called started emitting loud growls and he seemed ready to meet the encounter with them to save my life.
I knew we were doomed for what could my friend do to clash against four hyenas that could easily tear him to pieces. But the light from the lighter kept them away for a moment. Definitely not for long! I knew that! If only I had a torch with me at the moment. How I longed for it?
Then I saw in the dim light, the house was close-by.
My lighter fell down suddenly from my hand and the light was extinguished. Then I heard loud hysterical cries of the hyenas as they fell upon us. In the dark, I could visualize nothing as my friend sprang among them and deep growling was heard. Frantically I managed to open the gate and glide in during the commotion.
Before I could make out what was really happening, I heard the deep laughing shrieks of the hyenas rising in volume.
After some time I heard the laughing shrieks of a hyena as it trotted in my direction. The sound of a loud moaning sound from my friend warned me that the creatures were upon him. Immediately, I closed the gate from the inside, aware that my friend was being killed .The sharp jaws of the carnivores would lose no moment in tearing and feasting on the hapless victim that had stood no chance.
I could do nothing to help my friend that had sprung upon them to save my life. The darkness was indeed frightening as I could see nothing. But the fact that my friend was no longer alive was clear to me as I could no longer hear his beloved sounds.
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